Not shying away from the historic legacies of U.S. racism and recent high-profile deaths of unarmed people of color, Behnke explores the roots, multiple manifestations, and consequences of this ongoing form of social injustice.
The book opens powerfully, with the heart-shattering story of the 2014 shooting death of Tamir Rice, keenly followed by the critical perspective that racial profiling played a “crucial role not only in Rice’s tragic fate but in numerous other American lives.” The book considers not only disparities in policing and criminal justice, but more extensively how practices of racial profiling can be found in schools, businesses, and economic policies (such as redlining) as well as post–9/11 surges in Islamophobia and other immigration-related xenophobia. Balancing multiple viewpoints with an enlightened anti-racist perspective, Behnke takes a clear stance that “whether implicit or explicit, individual or institutional, racial profiling leaves deep psychological scars among its victims, hinders the social and economic opportunities of people of color, and creates deep mistrust and fear at all levels of society.” Recurring pullouts highlight quotes from leaders of historical significance, while graphs and charts interspersed throughout the book serve as reminders of the wide inequities that race and bias have on our society. The expansive bibliography and source notes invite readers to explore other articles and texts, and readers are also advised on meaningful actions they can take themselves.
A courageous historical examination of one of the most critical civil rights issues of our time. (index) (Nonfiction. 12-18)